The City of Wildomar is currently “rehabilitating” the 3 parks in town.
During this process they are contemplating planting grass. The grass called for in the “Parks Planting Plans” Festuca Elatior (Marathon 1 Turf). The total square footage called for in each park are, Marna O’Brien Park 192,867 sq. ft., Regency-Heritage Park 18,944 sq. ft. and Windsong Park 34,341 sq. ft. which comes to grand total of 246,152 square feet or 5.65 acres of grass that will require water. 70% of the water for two of the parks will be imported water, Windsong Park currently has access to recycled water. This type of grass calls for approximately 1 inch of water per week to maintain a healthy lawn, this area generally receives 12 inches of rainfall annually which means a balance of 40 inches of water per year is normally needed. Unfortunately with less than 1 inch of rainfall so far this year that number will increase to 51 inches.
With California currently in the third year of a drought and with the Governor asking for a 20% reduction in usage and the State Water Project cutting of all deliveries for the foreseeable future.
Now is not the time to plant grass, except where reclaimed or recycled water is available which limits this to Windsong Park, and possibly Welch Field if they have access to recycled water.
I appreciate the research he does on the details and calculations. They help us all see more clearly about the challenges and issues which face our community. Just reading the calculations about the needed amount of water to support the proposed planting of grass in our three modest parks was a real eye opener. Let’s hope the city officials take a close look at Kenny’s numbers and give some real thought to revamping their plans for all that grass.
You make a fair point… it’s a rough time to plant grass. Even if they plant the grass, they may have to turn the water off to it by the middle of Summer. Still, imagine the feigned outrage by those that love to ‘feign outrage’ at each opportunity. If the city manager decides to not plant grass. They’ll be looking to carp like there’s no tomorrow over it. If they do plant, and then it dies do to water rationing, the crowing will know no end.
We are currently in the 3rd year of drought conditions in Wildomar and over 10 years in the Colorado River Watershed along with the water from Northern California having been reduced over the last couple of years due to environmental concerns, the City of Wildomar needs to pay attention to things such as this. In my personal opinion the choice of grass, Marathon 1, was made to satisfy a small group of individuals rather than the choice being a wise decision based on environmental factors (semi-arid region) along with economics (cost to water and mow). At the time the reclaimed water was pulled to the high school a thinking person would have wondered if it could have been pulled to the Faith Baptiste Church at Mission Trail and Walnut, Marna O’Brien Park, Regency Heritage Park and William Collier Elementary School. Nothing in the City agenda’s show this was even thought about.
Wildomar’s elected and appointed officials have used the parks as a political ‘football’ and political wedge since long before incorporation. They have utilized the parks issues to pull at the emotional heartstrings of community residents and to foist an expensive parcel tax on us by setting false expectations about how and on what Measure Z tax revenue would be spent.
More to the point, however, is that the parks are part of the city’s resources and as such they should be managed using careful, long term planning and use of the most acceptable, proven best business practices. That would include having greater focus on planning for sustainability and cost controls. This is a semi-arid environment where the cost and availability of water must be considered. As Mr. Mayes has stated in previous blogs, we need to stop doing short term, spot fixing and get a Parks Master Plan in place – one based on an honest assessment of the environment we live in and the limited financial resources at the city’s disposal for maintaining the existing parks. The emphasis must change. We have to stop worrying about what kind of recreational programs can be implemented this summer in time for plump up council members bids for re-election, and focus on a five or ten year plan for not only the parks, but also for opening up and maintaining our trails. These plans must be made using facts and economics like the potential of shrinking the amount of grass, revisiting the selection of the kind of grass, and looking into how quickly we can convert the parks to using reclaimed water. In my opinion Wildomar must also rethink park plans to be more useful to a larger percentage of the population – because that too may require changes to how we shape the plans and expend resources.